It’s A 2 Team Race in the AL Central

Kansas City Royals

Unfortunately, they’re right where everyone thought they would be come August. Dead last in the AL Central. They have a solid closer, SP Zack Greinke has proved to be a solid starter as well and Jose Guillen has proved that he can still hit. Beyond that, the Royals have a very young team that needs to mature and couldn’t hurt to gain a few veterans along the way to help round things out. I don’t see them climbing out of the basement of this division in the near future.

Cleveland Indians

The have clearly given up on 2008. They released former closer Joe Borkowski, traded away 3B Casey Blake and last year’s Cy Young Award winner CC Sabathia. Granted, they were hit hard by injuries to Victor Martinez (C/1B), Travis Haffner (DH) and ever Fausto Carmona (SP) for a spell. Some bright spots can be seen as the play of C Kelly Shoppach, RP Rafael Betancourt and the amazing year that SP Cliff Lee is having. A healthy 2009 can see them back above .500 and possibly in the hunt for the division with a good off season.

Detroit Tigers

What happened here?! They are knocking in more runs than anyone else in their division, but they still do not have the pitching that can sustain those leads their bats can provide them with. Outside of the surprising year that Armando Galarraga (SP) is having and Justin Verlander, who has been shaky at times this year, they don’t have anyone else they can count on. Kenny Rogers is finally showing his age (43) and others in the bullpen can’t seem to stay healthy (Zumaya, Jones) and Bonderman’s injury sure didn’t help matters either. I won’t even include Dontrelle Willis here until 2009 if he can get back to form.

This has become a 2 Team Race

Minnesota Twins

They may not have Johan Santana, Torii Hunter, Carlos Silva or Matt Garza anymore but the Twins still find themselves neck and neck with the Sox for the central division lead. Instead, they have Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Francisco Liriano, Kevin Slowey and Glen Perkins. They also have the reigning Home Run Derby winner in 1B Justin Moureau with a complimentary cast of C Joe Mauer, Closer Joe Nathan, et al. It is my opinion that pitching wins in baseball, but I just don’t know if their offense is good enough to overtake Chicago. Unfortunately, RF Michael Cuddyer has been injured most of the year, which has hurt them in the middle of their line up.

Chicago White Sox

They have strength in their starting rotation with Mark Buehrle, Javier Vazquez, John Danks and Gavin Floyd with Octavio Dotel as their set up man and Bobby Jenks to close out games. Then they have a ton of hitting with C A.J. Pierzynski, 1B/OF Nick Swisher, 1B Paul Konerko, DH Jim Thome, SS Orlando Cabrera, LF Carlos Quentin, CF and newly acquired Ken Griffey Jr. (and future Hall of Famer) and RF Jermaine Dye. All I have to say is wow! They are my choice to take this division due to their offence and if their starting pitching can hold out.

AL Central

Chicago Sox 72 53 0.576 - 44-19 28-34 641 536 105
Minnesota 71 54 0.568 1 45-23 26-31 638 578 60
Detroit 62 64 0.492 10.5 33-28 29-36 643 625 18
Cleveland 57 67 0.46 14.5 34-29 23-38 586 576 10
Kansas City 55 70 0.44 17 28-34 27-36 514 628 -114

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